Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ontario hydro’s smart meters give dumb results: critics

McGuinty acknowledges people using electricity on off hours are getting higher electricity bills.


Karen Howlett
Toronto — From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2010 9:34PM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2010 11:52PM EDT

The McGuinty government is looking at giving consumers a break on hydro prices under a program that critics say is not living up to its promise to save electricity users money and promote energy conservation.

Ontario is the first province in Canada to introduce time-of-use pricing designed to encourage electricity consumers to reduce consumption and run appliances during periods of lower demand, when power tends to come from cheaper, cleaner sources. The government has spent more than $1-billion on the program.

Premier Dalton McGuinty acknowledged on Tuesday that he is hearing the same complaints that opposition members are raising: many people who throw in a load of laundry late at night when electricity prices are lower are getting hit with higher hydro bills.

Under the current pricing system, he said, rates might not be low enough in off-peak hours to allow consumers to reap savings. Under time-of-use billing, consumers are charged 9.9 cents a kilowatt hour during peak periods (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer) and 5.3 cents during off-peak periods (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.).

“There should be an appropriate price differential in place that in fact rewards people for changing their behaviour,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters. “We want to make sure that the pricing signals are right so that there is a real savings associated with using electricity in off-peak periods.”

Opposition parties say the Green Energy Act, along with the harmonized sales tax that took effect July 1, adding 8-per-cent to bills, and higher prices for electricity during peak periods have all combined to drive up rates for consumers.

Mr. McGuinty did not say how his government plans to change the program. But Queen’s Park is grappling with the soaring cost of hydro amid worries that it will become a topic of debate during next year’s provincial election.

Opposition members are accusing the government of mismanaging the system. “Can the Premier explain why he spent a billion and a half dollars on a scheme that doesn’t conserve energy, but does raise people’s hydro rates?” New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath said during Question Period on Tuesday.

Norma-Jean Campbell, a dog breeder in St. Thomas in southwestern Ontario, said she got a rude surprise when she opened her latest hydro bill. It had increased to $130 from about $100.
“I just thought, when they put the smart meter in place and the HST on top of that, where is this going to go?” Ms. Campbell said in an interview. “I feel powerless.”

Local utilities have installed smart meters that allow consumers to monitor their electricity usage in 4.1 million homes in Ontario. The New Democrats released figures showing that 80 per cent of Toronto Hydro’s 500,000 customers on time-of-use billing have seen their electricity bills rise, and most are not changing their usage patterns.

A government official disputed that figure, saying 68 per cent of customers paid $2.79 more on average, while 32 per cent paid $7.40 less on average.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario/ontario-hydros-smart-meters-give-dumb-results-critics/article1707808/

33 comments:

  1. I AM REALLY FED UP WITH THIS ONTARIO GOVERNMENT. THE MINISTER OF HYDRO SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS ACTIONS. THIS IS CLEARLY PRICE GOUGING AT ITS FINEST. HE SHOULD BE PAYING OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET AND RESIGN IMMEDIATELY. REMEMBER WHEN THE GRID WENT DOWN AND STORES WERE CHARGING MORE FOR ICE AND BREAD ETC. THEY WERE ALL CHARGED WITH PRICE GOUGING. WHO CHARGES MORE FOR DELIVERY THAN THE PRICE OF THE PRODUCT.WHAT IS A REGULATORY CHARGE(ANOTHER PHONY MONEY GRAB). PENSIONERS ARE SHOCKED,THEY HAVE TO DISCONNECT THE HYDRO AND THEY WILL DIE. THIS IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTS SO THEY CAN KEEP THE PENSIONERS MONEY IN THEIR OWN POCKET.THE ENTIRE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT IS CROOKED AND IT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED. I AM OUTRAGED THAT THIS GOVERNMENT WOULD DO THAT.I AM LOOKING INTO WAYS OF GETTING POWER OTHER THAN A MONOPOLY BUSINESS.I TALKED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT ARE SIMPLY NOT PAYING THEIR BILLS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T.IF EVERYONE DOES NOT PAY THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE BANKRUPT... I AM PISSED.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My 88 year old mother and I have been homeless since last January, and staying with relatives. We had a house in the Kawartha Lakes, less than 20 years old when we bought it. For the first six months we lived there, our hydro bills were around $70/mo. We had a brand new Energy Star washer and dryer, most light bulbs were switched to CFL's, and we had Geo Thermal heating and cooling. A "Smart Meter" was installed, and the next 2 bills I received were almost $400 each, and then I received a bill for $800. This came in June when we weren't using any heating or cooling.

    When I contacted hydro, the woman I spoke to hung up on me when I asked for an explanation of the charges. She just kept telling me that everything I needed to know was printed on my bill. I pursued the issue for months and was given some truly outrageous explanations , such as, everyone who uses Geo Thermal heating and cooling pays at least $1,000/mo. for hydro, even when the system is brand new. Well, we spent over $1,000 having the Geo Thermal system checked and re-charged so that it was running at optimum efficiency and there was no change in the hydro bills. And again, the charges were still out of this world when the system wasn't even in use.

    My mother and I are both on fixed incomes and simply couldn't afford to keep up with the hydro bills, so we had no choice but to sell the house at a huge loss, so we've been completely wiped out financially, and we still owe money to hydro.

    At the time we bought the house and I set up the new account with hydro, I asked what the previous owners had paid for hydro, on average. I was told that it was a "Privacy Issue" and they couldn't disclose that information. Yet, when the problem with the "Smart Meter" came up, I was told that they were also basing part of our charges on the previous owner's usage! I was also told over and over again that hydro's equipment never fails and is never wrong, although they did switch out the "Smart Meter" for a differnt brand, and months later told me that indeed there had been an issue with the original one - it hadn't been set to zero when it was installed, so we had been charged for KwH that were already recorded from wherever it had been previously.

    Since the passing of the Green Energy Act, when we were selling the house I had to be able to give any prospective buyer an estimate of our monthly hydro cost. I was finally told by someone in Hydro's head office in Toronto to give the figure of $375/mo., which we did. Very very nice couple bought the house, but I heard just last week that the issue is still on-going with them, they received a bill for $3,800 + for ONE MONTH, and they're now in the process of switching the house over to completely solar power. Fortunately they're in a financial position to be able to do that. I certainly would have liked to also.


    As for old style meters slowing down and gumming up, exactly how old is old? My parents lived in the same house in Toronto for 45 years and it still the original meter when that house was sold in 2000.

    ReplyDelete
  3. RAHAHAHA! I love the fact that the first poster had his caps-lock stuck...and got even a better kick of the second sap story.

    Had to sell the house because of the hydro bills?? RAHAHAHA...

    And I really enjoyed the part about the meter not being reset to zero - where do you find these people?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. your an ass hole

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    2. from a new person your still an ass hole

      Delete
    3. I also had problems with Hydro One so called Smart Meters(Cash Cows) Rather then talk about my problem, which I have proof in writing by Hydro One that they made a mistake. I am more interested in Anonymous posting. Does he work for Hydro One or the Present Provincial Government or just an asshole as someone already said. These are true stories with real issues. This is a free country and you are able to post what you want but if you don't know the facts and just blowing steam from you Ahole. I suggest you post about something that you might know about

      Delete
  4. I concidered deleting the above comment, but decided it's best to show some people's true colours.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My brother in the Keswick area got his power cut off in a dispute over obvious consumption differences after the meter was installed, they maintained they were right and he was wrong and refused even a service call. Months later while he was on vacation they came and changed the meter and gave him a $150 mis credit, but no admissions. This corporation is ruthless.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi. I am also in despare over the smart meter that was installed. It definatley raised my hydro by about 35% per bill. This is getting crazy. I work all day and there is no one home. But it appears that in non peak hours 7pm - 7am I am up all night using power at an unimaginable rate. I work to try to keep up with hydro only. I paid 340.00 last month and rec a bill today for another 400.00 dollars. This is crazy. Why is our Government letting this go on. Between two resources (oil, gas and hydro) I cannot make enough money in a month to keep up. I believe these smart meters are all faulty. Also for heavens sake why are we still paying a Debt retirement charge after all these year, and the delivery charge is way more then the actual consumption. This is caosis at its finest. The Goverment is letting these things go on and the middle class that the goverment counts on for most of their money is almost all gone now. the government has finally made us into a third world country, of only haves and haves not. Unfortunately most people fall under the have nots. I have also approached hydro on the faulty meter which of couse they deny. Canada is being forced into poverity by all these greedy governments and companies.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If the government carries on that way one day there will be no economy as people won't have any money to buy anything other then what they need the most. Seems everyone has a licence to steal, must get on that bandwagon!

    ReplyDelete
  8. If the government carries on that way one day there will be no economy as people won't have any money to buy anything other then what they need the most. Seems everyone has a licence to steal, must get on that bandwagon!

    ReplyDelete
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Please feel free to leave a comment, especially if you wish to share your own horror story. If you wish to get involved in the class action suit please contact me directly at jrwakefield@mcswiz.com put Class Action Suit in the subject please.